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Hartmann, Anja D.; Wilhelm, Natalie; Erfle, Volker and Hartmann, Katrin (2016): Wirksamkeit von Melittin bei der Behandlung von Katzen mit feliner Immunschwächevirusinfektion. In: Tieraerztliche Praxis Ausgabe Kleintiere Heimtiere, Vol. 44, No. 6: pp. 417-423

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Objective: The bee venom melittin shows an antiviral efficacy against the human immunodeficiency virus in cell culture. It was shown to be non-toxic for cats. Aim of this pilot study was to investigate the clinical efficacy and side-effects of melittin in cats naturally infected with feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV). Material and methods: The study was performed as a prospective, placebo-controlled double-blinded trial. Twenty cats were included, of which 10 cats each were treated with either melittin (500 mu g/kg body weight) or phosphate-buffered saline (placebo) subcutaneously twice per week. During the treatment period of 6 weeks, the cats' general health status, determined by the Karnofsky's score, and the severity of clinical signs (conjunctivitis and stomatitis) using a clinical scoring system were evaluated. Haematology, biochemistry profiles, lymphocyte subpopulations, CD4/CD8 ratio, and pterines (biopterine, 7-xanthopterine) as surrogate parameters were also compared. Results: The general health status and the clinical scores for conjunctivitis and stomatitis improved in cats treated with melittin. A statistically significant improvement however could only be detected for conjunctivitis in cats treated with melittin compared to cats treated with placebo which was likely due to different scores between both groups at the beginning. No influence on the lymphocyte subpopulations, CD4/CD8 ratio, and pterine concentrations was observed. No side effects occurred in this study. Conclusion and clinical relevance: In the protocol used in the present study, no significant efficacy of melittin could be detected. However, efficacy of melittin, especially if applied in a higher dosage as in the present study or for a longer period, could be evaluated in further studies. Synergistic effects if used in combination with classic antiretroviral drugs could be an interesting future approach.

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